On a Quite Night in the Colleges, Let's Get Caught Up In the NBA!

ON A QUIET NIGHT IN THE COLLEGES,

LET’S GET CAUGTH UP IN THE NBA!

Given the nature of Las Vegas betting interest, we’ll be devoting most NOTEBOOK coverage to “The Road to March Madness” over the next several weeks. We’ll turn peak attention to the NBA once the Dance is in the books…and certainly when the much anticipated pro playoffs get underway. But, the college schedule is so light Friday Night…and the Super Bowl is still a week away…so let’s do some catching up.

The quickest and best way to paint a thumbnail sketch is to use the combination of these two elements:

Average Scoring Margin

Strength of Schedule

Average scoring margin by itself can work as a virtual Power Rating because it creates a totem pole from best to worst. Strength of schedule allows you to adjust for teams who may have been playing very easy or very hard schedules. You regulars know we like using Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule rankings from his pages at USA Today.

Let’s start in the East

EASTERN TEAMS WITH POSITIVE DIFFERENTIALS

Indiana: +9.0 average margin, vs. the #26 ranked schedule

Miami: +5.5 average margin, vs. the #29 ranked schedule

Toronto: +2.4 average margin, vs. the #15 ranked schedule

Atlanta: +1.1 average margin, vs. the #28 ranked schedule

Chicago: +0.4 average margin, vs. the #30 ranked schedule

Only Indiana and Miami, as you know, are any kind of serious threat to win the championship. But, it’s worth nothing that Toronto is semi-legitimate considering their schedule strength. The Raptors do grade out as a playoff caliber team even by past Eastern standards because they’ve played a league average schedule. That also happens to be the toughest schedule played by anyone so far in the East!

EASTERN TEAMS WITH NEGATIVE DIFFERENTIALS

Washington: -0.7 average margin, vs. the #27 ranked schedule

Charlotte: -2.7 average margin, vs. the #25 ranked schedule

Brooklyn: -2.8 average margin, vs. the #18 ranked schedule

Detroit: -3.4 average margin, vs. the #24 ranked schedule

Boston: -3.5 average margin, vs. the #17 ranked schedule

New York: -4.2 average margin, vs. the #19 ranked schedule

Cleveland: -5.5 average margin, vs. the #23 ranked schedule

Orlando: -5.9 average margin, vs. the #20 ranked schedule

Philadelphia: -8.4 average margin, vs. the #21 ranked schedule

Milwaukee: -8.9 average margin, vs. the #22 ranked schedule

Just a disaster this year in the East. A lot of bad teams who would look even worse if they had played league average schedules. One of the keys to beating Las Vegas this year involves recognizing when these bad teams are going to be trying, and when they’re play like they don’t even care. That discourages a lot of handicappers from even trying. Just be aware that easy money awaits if you can get in synch with coaching and player attitudes.

WESTERN TEAMS WITH POSITIVE DIFFERENTIALS

San Antonio: +7.9 average margin, vs. the #14 ranked schedule

Oklahoma City: +7.3 average margin, vs. the #6 ranked schedule

Portland: +5.8 average margin, vs. the #9 ranked schedule

LA Clippers: +5.4 average margin, vs. the #11 ranked schedule

Minnesota: +5.0 average margin, vs. the #13 ranked schedule

Golden State: +4.2 average margin, vs. the #5 ranked schedule

Houston: +4.0 average margin, vs. the #16 ranked schedule

Phoenix: +3.2 average margin, vs. the #12 ranked schedule

Dallas: +1.3 average margin, vs. the #7 ranked schedule

Denver: +0.5 average margin, vs. the #10 ranked schedule

Oklahoma City can make a solid case for best in the NBA considering their schedule strength and the fact that Russell Westbrook has missed so many games. Come playoff time, they’re likely to be the team to beat in the West. Portland is a great story, with Phoenix right behind them on the scale of surprises. If either of those teams played in New York (instead of the disappointing Knicks and Nets), positive media coverage this year for the NBA would be off the charts! Note that only eight teams will make the playoffs. So, at least two of those teams will fail to reach the brackets. And, Memphis from the group you’re about to read could easily jump into the mix.

WESTERN TEAMS WITH POSITIVE DIFFERENTIALS

Memphis: -0.7 average margin, vs. the #8 ranked schedule

New Orleans: -2.2 average margin, vs. the #4 ranked schedule

Sacramento: -2.4 average margin, vs. the #2 ranked schedule

LA Lakers: -5.2 average margin, vs. the #3 ranked schedule

Utah: -6.7 average margin, vs. the #1 ranked schedule

New Orleans and Sacramento would be playoff teams if they played in the East. They’d make the brackets now with those differentials even without any adjustment for strength of schedule! We’ve said in the past that the East often looks like a glorified D-League. Unfortunately, that’s trending toward even more accuracy. These teams at the bottom play such tough schedules because they have so few games against each other!

Please use the data above to scan through this weekend’s schedule for potential pointspread winners against the Las Vegas numbers.

Among the games JIM HURLEY will be paying close attention to this weekend:

Friday

Oklahoma City at Boston

Memphis at Houston

LA Clippers at Chicago (ESPN)

Indiana at Sacramento

Minnesota at Golden State

Saturday

Oklahoma City at Philadelphia

Houston at Memphis (back-to-back head-to-head!)

Indiana at Denver

Minnesota at Portland

Sunday

San Antonio at Miami (ABC)

Denver at Sacramento

Portland at Golden State

You can always purchase game day basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about basketball season programs, or combination packages that would include the Super Bowl, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.

Back Saturday to preview Michigan at Michigan State in the big ESPN prime time game. It’s going to be another BIG MONEY WEEKEND here at JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

 

23
Nov

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